European Day of Languages

Welcome by EU Chargé d’affaires Dr. Christian Burgsmüller

Welcome to this first-ever virtual European Day of Languages. We are thrilled to share this celebration of multilingualism and of Europe’s linguistic diversity with you – even if only virtually. 

We have marked the European Day of Languages at Ottawa’s Glebe Collegiate Institute since 2013. However, this year’s extraordinary circumstances prompted us to seek new ways to stay connected and carry on with our daily lives.  

What is the European Day of Languages? 

Créé en 2001 par le Conseil de l’Europe pour souligner l’importance des langues et de notre patrimoine linguistique diversifié, la Journée européenne des langues est célébrée chaque année le 26 Septembre ou autour de cette date avec des centaines d’événements à travers le monde.

C’est une occasion de célébrer et d’encourager l’apprentissage des langues et de la compréhension interculturelle en Europe et au-delà de ses frontières.  

Europe is a continent of many languages. In the EU, we have 24 official languages and, like in Canada, we experience multilingualism every day.  

This linguistic diversity is what defines us as Europeans, what shapes our identity, and we take great pride in our rich linguistic heritage.

When we learn a new language, we learn more than a new form of communication; we gain knowledge and acceptance of different cultures. We connect with people in ways we never thought possible. This year in particular, we have gained a new understanding of the need to stay connected and look after each other as a community. 

We would like to thank the International Language Educators Association of Ontario (ILEA), the participating school boards, language schools and instructors, EU Member States Embassies and the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC) for making this event possible. 

Happy language learning!

What is the European Union Day of Languages?

Quick Facts:

  • The European Day of Languages was set up in 2001 by the Council of Europe to promote and encourage language learning and plurilingualism across Europe and beyond. Europe as a continent celebrates a rich multilingual diversity.
  • The Council of Europe designated September 26th as the European Day of Languages.

Objectives of the Day of Languages:

  • Raise awareness of the importance and benefits of language learning
  • Broaden our understanding and knowledge of various languages worldwide
  • Increase plurilingualism
  • Deepen intercultural understanding
  • Represent linguistic and cultural diversity
  • Encourage a lifelong commitment to language development

Connections to the International Languages Program:

  • Opportunity for discussion about our experiences as language learners
  • Reflection on how learners approach or continue language learning
  • Discussion on what is common across languages
  • Awareness of linguistic diversity and tools for communication

What can language teachers do to recognize the EU Day of Languages?

  1. Review language learning strategies with your students – consider the language awareness activities that are available within ILEA’s document: Raising Language Awareness – EU Day of Languages (click here)
  2. Consider booking a speaker to visit your class online – ask your school district’s ILEA representative to book a speaker via the association or for more information email us at
  3. Alternatively or in addition to the above, you can access the sample videos/documents or links for each language that appear on this website (and that will continue to develop over time)
  4. After the language experience have students fill out a sample exit card that gets them to reflect on their language experience and the strategies they used – a great activity to do especially at the start of a course or program

In collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union to Canada and after consultation with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board that ran six years of European Day of Languages events (since 2013), ILEA has produced its first edition of a document to assist language program providers and educators to recognize this important opportunity for developing language awareness and promoting multilingualism. This document gives an overview of the day with suggested activities and messaging for learners and communities. Keep in contact for future editions. 

Messages and Resources for the European Day of Languages

The European Day of Languages is organized in partnership with the Embassies of EU Member States, the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), and the Embassy of Georgia. 

Following are links to resources, video clips for various languages as offered by the embassies and cultural institutes. This section will expand over time. Check out the resources below and access them with your learners. 

** Section under construction **

LanguageResource/s LinkNotes
LatvianPDF with activities

Other links:

European Centre for Modern Languages: (for promotional download materials including language challenges)

Council of Europe:,and%20protecting%20the%20linguistic%20heritage

Thank you to our partners, including:

  • Schools and school boards
  • Delegation of the European Union to Canada
  • Embassies
  • Cultural Institutes
  • Embassy of the Czech Republic
  • Embassy of Greece
  • Embassy of Hungary 
  • Embassy of Ireland 
  • Embassy of Italy
  • Embassy of Latvia 
  • Embassy of Poland
  • Embassy of Portugal
  • Embassy of Georgia

European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) Ottawa / Montreal:

  • Goethe-Institut Ottawa/ Montreal 
  • Istituto Italiano di Cultura Ottawa
  • Instituto Camões Ottawa